Many of our patients have questions related to problems which commonly arise during pregnancy. Some of the most frequently mentioned concerns are discussed here. If your question is not answered here, we invite you to discuss with your doctor at your appointment.
SPOTTING during the early months of pregnancy is quite common. If this does occur, immediately get off your feet, do not have sexual intercourse. It is common to have spotting after a vaginal exam. There may be some spotting when you pass your mucous plug as well. If the bleeding is more than spotting, call the office.
DOUCHING is not recommended during your pregnancy. You will naturally have increased secretions. Expect a white to yellow pasty discharge. If your discharge is symptomatic with itching, burning, sores etc., let us know and if an infection is present, a medication can be prescribed.
BATHING habits can remain the same during pregnancy as they were beforehand; however, do not sit for extended periods of time in unusually hot water, i.e., hot tubs, saunas. Limit temperature to less than 101° and less than 10 minutes.
SEXUAL INTERCOURSE can be continued as long as you have had no premature labor in this pregnancy, there is no vaginal bleeding and no leakage of fluid which might suggest your water broke. You should not have intercourse if you have a partial or total previa (placenta covering cervix).
TRAVEL is usually safe. If traveling by car or plane, remember to walk at least hourly to prevent blood clots. Seat belts are mandatory. Most airlines will allow you to travel up until your last month of pregnancy. In the last month of pregnancy, it may be wise to stay reasonably close to the hospital (i.e., within 1 hour traveling time).
SWOLLEN FEET may be relieved by elevating your legs (i.e., lying on your side). Avoid prolonged standing or prolonged sitting. Avoid crossing your legs. These precautions will also prevent varicose veins. A good elastic support hose will help.
EXERCISE is permissible at levels you were used to before pregnancy. Keep your heart rate under 140. Warm up and cool down periods are recommended. Fatigue is common. You will find you need more rest. Adjust your activity as your body commands. Avoid hazardous sports such as horseback riding, snow or water skiing, etc. Avoid exercising to point of exhaustion or breathlessness. Avoid exercises that require you to be flat on your back.
NUTRITION – Eat a variety of foods from each of the four food groups daily. Try to eat 4-5 servings of a fruit or vegetable. The FDA advises NOT to eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tuna, and tile fish or golden or white snapper, bass, trout, or pike while pregnant. You may have other fish including shellfish, small ocean fish such as tilapia or light canned tuna, pollock, haddock, grouper, orange roughy, sardines, herring, salmon, catfish, farm-raised trout, crayfish, cod, flounder and croaker but limit to 1 serving per week. Be sure ALL meats – beef, pork, chicken, fish, lamb, etc. are thoroughly cooked. Makes sure hot dogs, deli meats are reheated and all cheeses are made with pasteurized milk. Calcium supplements (1000 – 1200 mg/day) may be needed if you are unable to provide at least 4 servings of a dairy product daily. You may add DHA supplement to your prenatal vitamin if it doesn’t already have it. Animal studies show improved brain development with DHA. Limit caffeine beverage such as coffee, tea and colas to less than 300mg/day. (Coffee = 100mg, tea = 40mg, colas = 50mg). Alcohol is discouraged. SMOKING CIGERATTES, MARIJUANA AND VAPING IS HARMFUL to you and your “passenger” so if you are a smoker, decrease your usage to less than 5 cigarettes per day or better yet – QUIT!!!
ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS include strong chemicals, radiation exposure, contagious or infectious diseases, uncooked meats and cat feces (toxoplasmosis). If you own a cat, have someone else change the litter box. Also avoid contact with hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and mice.
FETAL MOVEMENT starts between 16-20 weeks. Counting fetal movements is a means of assessing fetal health. You should be able to count 10 movements per day after 24 weeks. If you perceive less movement, notify our office.